Brief Fact Summary. Due to the Defendant, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound’s (Defendant), failure to promptly diagnose the decedent’s lung cancer, the decedents chances of surviving went from 39% to 25%. The Plaintiff in this matter, Edith Herskovits (Plaintiff), is the decedent’s estates personal representative.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Even if the total chances of survival are below 50%, a negligent Defendant is liable for the reduced chance of survival directly caused by the negligence.
Issue. Whether, due to the Defendant’s negligence, a decrease in the chances of survival that are already lower than 50% is actionable negligence.
Held. A reduced chance of survival, no matter what the percentage, is an actual harm. The Defendant’s negligence caused a reduction in the decedent’s chances of survival and therefore a causal link is established between the negligence and the harm.
The law does not in the existing circumstances require the plaintiff to show to a certainty that the patient would have lived had she been hospitalized and operated on promptly.View Full Point of Law